JM Murray had over 120 participants–comprised of staff, consumers, family and community members; and visitors from the Cortland Standard, SUNY Cortland and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology–at their Celebrate Urban Birds event in August. The event was a big success for their OPTIONS Day Habilitation program, combining community work, gardening, local bird observation, and the arts!
Participants in the OPTIONS JM Murray program were organized into twelve teams that prepared different activities for the event, working on handcrafts such as beautiful mobiles representing birds like hummingbirds, Blue Birds, Northern Cardinals, and American Robins made of folded or cut paper. The mobiles were hung on practically any surface available!
Other teams worked on interactive posters and games for visitors to experience while going from room to room or table to table, teaching them about bird identification and how to help birds by planting certain kinds of plants or keeping bird baths, and much more. Some groups worked on detailed drawings and collages of birds of vibrant colors, while others cooked original dishes dedicated to birds such as Bird Nest cookies, Rice Krispie or Jello Bird cut-outs, Bird Nest pie, Dirt and Worms cake, and more. All of these fun and delicious dishes were enjoyed by everyone involved!
Visitors and staff also made and displayed their own bird activity books, bird photographs and recordings, unique suet feeders, informational bulletin boards/collages, and a crafted “angry bird” game. They painted a beautiful “Celebrate Urban Birds” mural out in their garden, where they planted sunflowers, flowering plants in full bloom at the event, and many veggies, not only for the birds, but also for themselves to cook and enjoy! “Sammy the Bald Eagle” shared some urban bird jokes, and a bird sing-along was provided by a music therapist and her traveling music group, and the event concluded with a demonstration of the “10 minute backyard bird observation” presented in the flower gardens.